The Lenovo datacenter group has been on quite a tear as of late. The data center group grew revenue 19% with an eye-popping 31% growth from cloud service providers in its recent earnings release. Even the Covid-19 beleaguered enterprise and SMB saw 9% growth driven by a doubling of software-defined infrastructure (SDI), services, and high-performance computing. Earlier in the month, Lenovo's Data Center Group announceda series of new and updated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) systems, in partnership with Nutanix, Microsoft, and VMware. I'll hit the news and then my opinion at the end.
New solutions with Nutanix, Microsoft, VMware
With Nutanix, Lenovo is introducing a version of the ThinkAgile HXpowered by AMD EPYC, the first AMD-based HCI server for the company. In late November, the new solution will be available as an appliance or a certified node, promising more density for virtual desktop workloads that can be optionally enhanced by GPU capabilities, managed through an easy-to-use management console.
In collaboration with Microsoft, Lenovo is introducing the new ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI Edge and Data Center systems providing easy deployment, management, and scalability of Azure services. ThinkAgile MX offers a single, simplified console for lifecycle management and scaling. Lenovo plans to offer the consumption-based pricing of Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack Hub.
With VMware, Lenovo is introducing new ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions, designed to improve agility and reliability for SAP HANA database deployments. The solution provides management simplicity, scalability, and the cost savings of a VMware hyperconverged infrastructure for SAP HANA.
Lenovo also announced OEM ON DEMAND, a new program designed to enable strategic ISV partners to offer turnkey, integrated infrastructure solutions to market through its respective brands. For example, Lenovo noted its collaboration with Diamanti and announced the new Diamanti SR630, a solution leveraging Lenovo ThinkSystem servers designed to enable customers to deploy a full-stack solution to manage cloud-native containerized applications quickly.
Updated cloud lifecycle services
As you well know, IT departments are increasingly becoming a driving force in all aspects of the business - far more than to oversee the upkeep of software and hardware. The imperative is to be more involved in the business and quickly create the bridge from business problems to business outcomes using the right technology.
To address this challenge, Lenovo has assembled a set of lifecycle services to take customers through the journey, accelerating time to value. Making sure the right solution is optimized to solve the business problem in a way that is easier and simpler to manage, allowing increased focus on innovation and priorities within the organization.
IT departments want to spend less time and money worrying about the infrastructure. To this end, Lenovo offers management and support, from traditional break-fix up through the stack into the hypervisor and VM's providing remote management, proactive support, and ensuring patch levels and security are current.
Just as the approach to business is changing, so must the approach to consuming infrastructure. Enterprises need the flexibility, convenience, and affordability to the point that a pay-per-use consumption model has become a business imperative.
Lenovo TruScale is a subscription-based offering that allows you to use and pay for data center hardware and services – on-premise or at a preferred location such as the edge – without having to purchase the equipment. This consumption model avoids capital expenses and long lead times. Pay only for what you use, scale on-demand without overprovisioning, or incurring exponential costs.
Truscale will scale as business dictates and for any configuration – whether storage-rich, server-heavy, hyperconverged, or high-performance computing.
My overall impression of this announcement is that good things are happening at Lenovo these days that should deserve your consideration. DCG is growing faster than most datacenter companies when I compare the group to its contemporaries.
I believe it has an impressive lineup of solutions and services to ensure that enterprises have the right technology and tools to support an ongoing digital transformation that can scale based on unpredictable customer demand.
This announcement demonstrates how Lenovo is achieving this vision by combining its technological innovations with those of ISV and multi-cloud partners, including AMD, Nutanix, Microsoft and VMware, and OEMs like Diamanti.
Lenovo's stated vision is to enable customers to modernize their IT infrastructures quickly. Its approach is to offer choice to customers leveraging the best hybrid cloud software providers. I see Lenovo as the "Swiss Army knife for software solutions" as it doesn't rill its software stacks but, rather, partners equally with the leading stack providers. I believe the enterprise benefit is that Lenovo is less inclined to push its stack for the sake of ownership and will instead offer what the end customer needs or wants. The disadvantage, of course, is that the margins aren't as high for the company.
Also evident across all the solutions is the open standard approach from a management perspective, using integration at the software layer to drive simplicity and ease of use. Most importantly, avoid having to switch between tools to perform management tasks.
Finally, what I find most refreshing is Lenovo's increased marketing sophistication in its outreach to customers across the various channels, which is so crucial in this saturated marketplace.
Lenovo talks about the "new, smarter normal" that is accelerating business transformation. In this context, it clearly articulates the significant technical and business benefits from seamlessly deploying, managing, and maintaining leading-edge HCI and multi-cloud solutions.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.